How to Detect Heat Loss in a House [And Save Hundreds]

It’s not worth investing hundreds in a thermal imaging camera when you can detect heat loss in your home for a fraction of the price with a temperature gun. Use a temperature gun to scan your ceilings and the rest of your home. Focus on points where heat tends to flow out—leaky windows, loose-fitting doors, under baseboards, and uninsulated portions of your floor. With a temperature gun, you can find exactly where the warm air is flowing out and the cold air is flowing in.

How to detect heat loss in a house

What is the Best Way to Identify Heat Loss in a House?

Although you can spend hundreds of dollars on a high-tech thermal imaging camera to find heat loss in your home, it’s not worth the money. It may take years to recoup the cost of a thermal imaging camera by improving your home’s heat-retention capabilities. Instead, you can spend as little as one-tenth of the cost on a temperature gun that will find hot and cold spots in your home quickly.

  • This temperature gun can easily detect heat loss areas in your home.
  • Compare the price of the temperature gun against this thermal imaging camera.
  • Temperature guns will pinpoint heat loss cheaply, so you can focus on fixing the problem.

A temperature gun is a quick and inexpensive way to find heat loss in a home, condo, or apartment. Unless you’re going into business inspecting homes for heat loss, it’s usually not worth spending on a thermal imaging camera. Our tips are designed to make use of a temperature gun, which will save you money.

How Do You Use a Temperature Gun to Detect Heat Loss?

To use a temperature gun to check the areas we discuss in this article, start by familiarizing yourself with the owner’s manual and the operation of the tool. Then, turn the temperature gun on and point it at an exterior wall in your home. Then move the detection laser slowly. If the temperature fluctuates by 10 degrees or more across one wall, you have found a place where your home loses heat.

  • Check out our guide to finding cold spots in your home.
  • Read the operating instructions.
  • Turn on the gun.
  • Starting at one side of the wall or ceiling, move the laser slowly from one side to another.
  • Watch the readout and note any temperature changes.
  • Temperature fluctuating by 10 degrees or more indicates heat loss.

When using a temperature gun, sweep the laser slowly from one area of the wall to another. You will be able to see changes in heat from the tool’s temperature readout. This is nearly as simple and effective as a thermal imaging camera, but far less expensive.

5 Places to Pinpoint Heat Loss in Your Home

Now that you have your temperature gun and know how to use it, here are the top places to check your home for heat loss. Just follow this quick guide to pinpoint problem areas so they can be fixed.

Scan Ceilings

Hot air rises. Consequently, a lot of heat loss in homes comes when warm air rises up and leaks out through a poorly insulated roof. Use your temperature gun to check the ceiling in each room on the top level of your house. Start by going in an ‘X’ pattern from corner to corner. Then, trace around the edges of the ceiling on all sides of the room. Temperature fluctuations of more than 10 degrees signal that your home is leaking heat through the ceiling. Increased attic and roof insulation will help solve this.

Check Doors and Windows

If your doors and windows are not properly caulked and sealed, they are extremely likely to be a source of heat loss in your home. Start by feeling for air blowing in around the edges of the window frames. Then, do the same for doors. Use your temperature gun to get a clearer idea of the difference in heat near windows in doors. Windows can be improved by caulking around the frame. Doors often benefit from having weatherstripping added, to create an airtight seal.

Focus on Floors

If the floors in your home are extremely cold on winter days, it may be a sign of poor floor insulation. If floors lack insulation, heat can radiate from the underside of your house. It will then be lost and your floors will be chilly. Use your temperature gun to search for places where the heat drops more than 10 degrees. This could indicate damage to crawl space insulation that is causing your home to lose heat.

Inspect Utility Lines and Outlets

Look closely at any gas lines, electrical wires, ethernet cables, and vents that pass through your exterior walls from the inside to the outside. Search for visible gaps and feel for currents of cold air entering your home. If your temperature gun detects a change in temperature on a wall, it may be due to a utility line exiting your home. Even small gaps around pipes and vents can cause significant heat loss. This can be solved by caulking around elements that pass through exterior walls. Just make sure to caulk both inside and outside the home.

Don’t Forget Baseboards

The joint where walls and floors meet often allows for heat loss. To pinpoint this, scan your baseboards with your temperature gun. If the temperature of the baseboards along exterior walls is more than 10 degrees different from the interior walls, you have a heat leak. This can be solved by caulking along baseboards.

Where Does Most Heat Loss Occur in a House?

Heat commonly escapes from homes through the roof, around doors and windows, and where service lines pass through walls. Thin or degraded insulation in your roof allows warm air to escape upward. Uncaulked doors and windows allow heated air to flow out of rooms. If the area around pipes, conduits, cables, and dryer vents are not properly sealed, they can also allow large volumes of heated air to escape.

  • Ceilings and roofs.
  • Around doors and windows.
  • Where utility lines pass through exterior walls.
  • Floors with little or no insulation.
  • Where floors and walls meet.

Floors are a common culprit for heat loss as well. Poorly insulated floors in homes allow heat to radiate out through the floor as cold air flows into the home. If baseboards are not properly installed and caulked, there can be small gaps where the floor and wall meet. Heat can escape from these places.

How Do You Find Where Your House is Leaking Heat?

The best way to find areas where your home leaks heat is:

  • Use an inexpensive temperature gun.
  • Avoid purchasing an expensive thermal imaging camera.
  • Scan walls, ceilings, and floors slowly with the temperature gun.
  • If the temperature gun picks up temperature fluctuations of more than 10 degrees, it signifies a heat leak.
  • Check ceilings—heat loss through the roof is a main concern.
  • Inspect for air infiltration and temperature changes near doors and windows.
  • Scan floors—heat can be lost through the floor.
  • Look for fluctuations in temperature where utility lines (vents, cables, etc.) pass through exterior walls.
  • Scan along baseboards for heat leaks.

These methods will allow you to easily find the most common sources of heat loss without splurging on an expensive camera.

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